Meet Briana Trusty, a fourth-year broadcast journalism student at the University of South Carolina. Warning: you’re gonna want to take some notes. This Gamecock packed her bags and worked as a style collective intern at E! News this past summer in Los Angeles. Jealous yet? From the Oscars to the Kardashians, and every red carpet event in between, she pretty much knows it all. Briana spilled the details about her internship, experiences in journalism and advice for students who have similar #jobgoals.
Her Campus South Carolina: How did you first become interested in media?
Briana Trusty: I’ve always loved entertainment news. I was the kid who would read the teen celebrity magazines and constantly tell friends and family (really anyone who would listen), my opinions on whatever was happening with my favorite celebrities. In high school, I was able to take a broadcast class where we basically ran a mini newsroom and produced a daily show. I fell in love with anchoring.
HCSC: What experience do you have working in the media field?
BT: During my freshman year of college I started writing for the national Her Campus website which allowed me to perfect my writing skills and define my writing style. I covered a variety of topics including lifestyle and fashion, with a focus in entertainment news. I then interned at Latina Magazine in New York where I wrote articles and produced video content for Latina.com. I was also an intern at WACH FOX News, the FOX affiliate in Columbia. There, I got a lot of hands on experience and was able to book guests and edit segments for their morning show, Good Day Columbia. In December 2016, I became a staff writer for Nicki Swift and have been writing celebrity news articles for almost a year. I was promoted to weekend news editor which means I’m in charge of writing, editing and publishing all content on Saturdasy and Sundays. And then this past summer, I landed my dream internship at E! News where I was able to help produce digital content. (I applied on the NBCUniversal website, it was easy!)
HCSC: Describe your dream job.
BT: I hope to use the connections that I’ve made over the past few years to hopefully land a job that allows me to pursue my passion for entertainment news. I would love to be an E! News host. To me, E! is the epitome of entertainment news. I feel like being the host of E!’s main show would be the ultimate indication that I’ve made it.
HCSC: What motivates you?
BT: I’m so interested in the ever-evolving status of pop culture and I have this intrinsic motivation to know more, I’m intrigued by it. I find myself constantly wanting to work harder to gain more knowledge about the entertainment industry and the people in it.
HCSC: Walk us through a day at the office.
BT: I arrived at the office every day at 9am. Most days I would pitch stories to my boss. If she approved, I would work to turn them in by the end of the day depending on the length of the piece. Some days there was random photo or video shoots where I would accompany members of my team. Since our focus was style and beauty, I was able to help with makeup and clothing shoots, which was really fun. It was interesting to gain more insight about what goes on behind the camera. Every Thursday, I would help with my departments weekly Facebook Live segment called FrE!estyle that featured celebrity makeup artists with Zuri Hall and Vanessa Grimaldi. I was basically a production assistant every week for that show.
HCSC: What was the most challenging part of your internship?
BT: At some internships I’ve done, they treat you like an intern. At E!, they treated me like an employee. At first, it was challenging to see myself as more of an employee than an intern and really allow myself to approach daily assignments and meetings as an intern. However, I learned that if you limit yourself and think things like “oh, I’m just an intern”, that is not going to get you anywhere. You have to have the same confidence that you would have as an employee, that’s what will set you apart.
HCSC: What was your favorite part of your internship?
BT: During the first few weeks of my internship, I sent my favorite E! News host, Zuri Hall, an email asking if I could buy her a coffee and talk about her career. We met, and she was one of the most down to earth television hosts that I’ve ever met. By the end of the summer, we were on a first name basis. I worked with her every week. The Style Collective had a weekly Facebook Live show with Zuri as the host and Vanessa Grimaldi, Nick Viall’s (from The Bachelor) now ex-fiance, as her co-host. I would get to go to the studios where they film E! News because they used the same set for the style segment (FrE!estyle). I would help my boss prep for the show, interview the celebrity guests and take notes throughout the show. It was the most surreal thing to be on the set of a show I’ve watched for as long as I can remember. Another favorite moment was getting to shadow producers for E!’s daily morning show, The Daily Pop. I loved getting to sit in on tapings of the show, pitch story ideas and help write scripts for Catt Sadler, Carissa Culiner and Justin Sylvester.
HCSC: What have your internships taught you?
BT: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and make yourself open to every experience that you can. There were many opportunities that became available to me that weren’t necessarily in my job description, but since I took time to sit down with my boss throughout my internship and make her aware of my strengths and interests, I think I was able to get more out of it. I’ve learned the worst that can happen if you ask someone something is that they can say no, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The benefits can definitely outweigh the anxiety that you have.
HCSC: Any advice to readers who have similar #jobgoals as you?
BT: I feel like my internships, jobs and journalism classes really put me in a good position to grow. Get as much outside experience that you can. Show potential employers what’s unique about you and what unique perspective you can bring to the table. Never stop applying and don’t get discouraged about not hearing back. It’s important to not take silence or rejection personally because persistence is definitely key.
Follow Briana on Instagram and Twitter: @brianatrusty
E! Articles written by Briana: